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Protest at the Paralympics to save Remploy
A DISABLED sportsman who worked in Burnley is spearheading a last-ditch campaign at the Paralympics to save Remploy factories in the North West and beyond.
Brian Davis, a former GMB union shop steward for the disabled employment organisation’s Burnley and Blackburn sites, was sacked by Remploy earlier this year.
The 52-year-old was a gold medal winning swimmer at the 1981 para games in Oslo, a forerunner of the Paralympics, and was later awarded the OBE.
And he has been at the forefront of protests in Stratford, East London, where the Olympics and Paralympics are being held.
Remploy’s factories in East Lancashire are thought to be safe for now but other sites in Preston, Manchester, Bolton and Wigan, where Brian worked latterly, are set to close by the end of this year.
Mr Davis, who suffers from brittle bone disease, has been on a previous protest at Remploy’s Leicester HQ, where he said: “I have worked for Remploy for 33 years and they have treated us like dirt.”
Workers who have remained with Remploy, amid growing uncertainty about the company’s future, are also angry that they look set to receive £5,000 less than colleagues who have previously been made redundant.
The father-of-three insists that there are few opportunities available in mainstream employment for would-be employees like himself.
Strikes are set to occur in Chesterfield and Glasgow over the next week, at factories which are due to be sold off.
Coalition partners decided to reduce Remploy’s funding following the findings of the Sayce Review in June 2011, which recommended wholesale reforms, supposedly designed to assist more disabled workers into mainstream education.
Phil Davies, GMB National Secretary, added: “It is not too late for Prime Minister David Cameron to step in and do a U-turn to save these factories.”